This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
In considering the wood work, the height of the base, the wainscot, if any, the paneling of the doors, and the general fit and design of the trim should be noted. A high base, handsome wainscot and substantial trim are attractive to tenants and assist in producing income. Heavy trim is not always desirable, but trim that is too light, a door which is badly made and hung, and that has too many panels in it, and a base which is too low, indicate a cutting down of expense and possibly poor construction.
All buildings not over twelve stories high are trimmed with non-fireproof wood. The upright trim is known as standing trim, and the doors, wardrobes, etc., are often called hanging trim. Oak, birch, cypress, maple, hazel, poplar or whitewood, and mahogany are the commonly used woods to-day for trimming apartment houses and business buildings. Oak is the most durable of the cheaper woods. Quarter-sawn, or quartered oak, as it is called, makes a very durable and substantial trim. Mahogany is the most expensive, and an effective substitute is found in birch, which, when properly stained and finished, resembles the former very closely. Curly birch, which is full of hearts and quirks and curls, is exceptionally pretty and is used for panels, etc.
To prevent dampness from the plaster working into the trim and splitting or warping it, the back of all trim surfaces which are over six inches in width should be painted with a damp-proof paint. This is particularly true of the panels in wainscoting, panel backs and other large surfaces of trim that come in contact with the plaster.
The use of white paint and enamel is very general in apartment houses. It costs more to maintain, but is very effective, and, under most conditions, its desirability, from the standpoint of the tenant, will create an added income sufficient to offset the extra cost of maintenance.
The use of soft wood in any apartment house is undesirable for trim, as it does not wear, is less lasting, and apt to become unsanitary. Hazel or birch makes a most desirable wood for white enameling. Cypress is undesirable, and whitewood, although taking the paint well, is too soft to be durable.